No One Is Good

Many people have trouble with the concept of total depravity. While not denying they are sinners, many people feel that their sin isn’t bad enough to condemn them. What they don’t understand is that any sin is wholly unacceptable to God. Let’s suppose I invite you over to my hous … More

Depravity

Paul has already charged that both Jews and Gentiles are guilty before God. Now he declares that all men are sinners and he seeks to prove it with references from the Old Testament. “All are under sin” (v. 9). This sin reaches into every area of life:

  1. Our character - “There is no one righteous, not even one” (v. 10)
  2. Our mind - “There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (v. 11)
  3. Our heart - “All have turned away, together they have become worthless” (v. 12)
  4. Our speech - “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit” (vv. 13-14)
  5. Our feet - “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways” (vv. 15-17)
  6. Our eyes - “There is no fear in their eyes” (v.18)

Paul declares that “Every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (v. 19). While it is true that God’s standard is perfect, and that obedience to it would secure Devine blessing, the fact remains that in actual life no one is able to keep it (v. 20). Sin has infected and affected every part of our being. But to say that, is to say nothing more than the historic Protestant doctrine of Total Depravity. It means that sin has affected every part of man’s being; his mind, his emotions, his will, his intellect, his moral reasoning, his decision making, his words and his deeds. No part of man’s being is exempt from the debilitating effects of sin. Total depravity means there is an evil seed inside each of us which may lie dormant for years, and pop up without warning.

Application

Even though I am totally depraved, God still loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life.

Romans 3:9-20 (English Standard Version)

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »